Chances are, one of the first places you turn for quick informed on everything from that new diet fad to a troubling rash to a cough that wont quit is your handy search engine( although if you have a medical fear, theres no substitute for an IRL appointment with your doctor ). So we asked the experts at Google to share the most popular health-related searches of the past year with us.
These top searched health-related questions are based on Google searches in the US from January to November 2015, said Simon Rogers, a data editor for Googles News Lab.
Here are the burning questions you searched for in 2015, along with answers from the physicians and Health experts.
The question: Is bronchitis contagious ?
Acute bronchitis is a chest cold that occurs when the bronchial tubings get irritated and inflamed, creating mucus that makes you cough. It may or may not be the result of a bacterial infection, which attains this question a difficult one to answer.
For the most part, bacterial bronchitis and airway rednes are not contagious per se, said Health editorial advisory board member Dr. David L. Katz ., director of Yale University Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn. and founder of True Health Initiative. Often, however, the precipitant for a bout of bronchitis is a viral infection of the upper airwayfrequently called a coldand these, of course, are contagious.
In other words, patients should think of acute bronchitis as more a symptom of an illness rather than an illness itself.
Generally, bronchitis is a complication of new infections involving the upper respiratory tract, explained Katz. That infection is usually viral, and contagious. The complication of the infectionbronchitisis not contagious, however. The subtlety here is that some viruses can cause bronchial rednes even in the absence of prior vulnerability of bacterial infection, so the no in this instance is a qualified no.
In addition to acute bronchitis, more than 12 million Americans suffer from chronic bronchitis, which is one form of chronic obstructive pulmonary illnes( COPD ). This condition is typically brought on by cigarette smoking, and is not contagious.
RELATED: 27 Mistakes Healthy People Make
The question: Is pneumonia contagious ?
The answer here is a qualified yes, Katz said, explaining that most cases of pneumoniaan infection that causes the lungs air sacs to fill up with fluidare bacterial. So if you come in contact with person suffered by bacterial pneumonia, its possible for that bacteria to be transmitted to you. He adds that this is particularly true with community acquired pneumonia such as tuberculosis, which is notoriously contagious. There are also strains of pneumonia that are viral rather than bacterial, and those are even more contagious.
In general, however, pneumonia is not spread nearly as readily as viral infections of the upper airway, Katz said. It also stops being contagious when coughing stops, usually soon after the initiation of appropriate antibiotics.
The question: How much water should I drink ?
From coconut water to maple water to cactus water, trendy water-like liquors reigned supreme in 2015. When it comes to staying healthy and hydrated, though , nothing beats a plain-old glass of H2O. But how much do you really require each day?
The easiest formula is to take your weight and divide it in half, said Keri Gans, RDN, a New York City-based nutrition consultant and writer of The Small Change Diet. The number you get is the amount of water, in ounces, you should eat each day.
For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking about 70 ounces( or nine cups) of water a day. However, Gans added that you should always take into account other factors, such as temperature, if youre exercising, and if youre pregnant or breastfeeding, in which instance youll likely need more than that.
Another important thing to recollect is that water isnt the only route to meet your hydration wants, Gans said. Vegetables, fruit, and unsweetened liquors also count.
The question: How many calories should I eat ?
Unfortunately, theres no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
Calorie needs are based on age, height, weight, ” activities, health status, and if youre pregnant or breastfeeding, said Megan Roosevelt, RD, founder and CEO of Healthy Grocery Girl. For the most accurate calorie intake computations, you should meet with a registered dietician.
Gans agreed: Candidly, I never tell my patients to cut calories, she said. I much opt they focus their attention on creating well-balanced meals that include nutrient-rich foods and section control.
However, Gans acknowledged that being aware of how many calories in general youre devouring can help keep on you on track. She recommends that a 54 woman consume between 1,400 and 1,600 calories a day if shes slightly to moderately active and upwards of 1,900 calories if shes very active.
But these numbers can still vary even more if were talking about an elite athlete or someone who is very sedentary, she said.
Need help sticking to your goals? In July 2015, the NIH launched a new calorie calculator that uses the latest research to give you a personalized calorie count and workout regimen to aim for.
RELATED : 31 Superfoods for a Long and Healthy Life The question: What is lupus ?
Lupus, short for systemic lupus erythematosus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.5 million Americans. Depending on its severity, the disease can impact the scalp, kidneys, joints, heart, nervous system, and blood cell. Lupus is notoriously difficult to diagnose and is often confused with rheumatoid arthritis. One reason for this is that the symptoms vary widely from patient to patient and can include headaches, tirednes, joint pain, fever, and rashes( such as a sunburn-like butterfly rash that spreads across the face ).
In the autumn of 2015, pop superstar Selena Gomez revealed that her day away from the spotlight in 2014 which many tabloids attributed to drug and alcohol additionwas actually to treat lupus.
I was diagnosed with lupus, and Ive been through chemotherapy. Thats what my break was really about. I couldve had a stroke, she said in an interview with Billboard RELATED : 7 Person on What Its Really Like to Have Lupus The question: How far along am I ?
Before we had blood tests and ultrasounds to help us determine how far along a pregnancy was, we relied on primitive info, said Dr. Joshua U. Klein, assistant clinical professor of OB/ GYN and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Mainly, how large a womans abdomen wasa fairly inaccurate indicatorand when her last period was.
If a woman has a regular period, then the working day of her last period is the most reliable( well, semi-reliable, as Klein puts it) method for knowing how far along she is. For women who dont have regular menstrual cycle, though, that various kinds of dating will be off.
Thankfully, physicians today have more accurate methods for determining how far along a pregnancy is.
The primary instrument we use now is an ultrasound to look at fetus growth, Klein said. In the first six weeks of pregnancy, you can also get a human chorionic gonadotropin( HCG) blood test that measures the level of the pregnancy hormone in your blood.
Either way, knowing exactly when you conceived is important: If youre wrong, your OB could incorrectly calculate your due date, Klein said. And if it appears that youre late for that date nine months ago, your doctor may induce the pregnancy prematurely without realizing it.
The question: When do you ovulate ?
In women of reproductive age, ovulation happens when an egg is released from the ovaries into the fallopian tubings, where it can be fertilized by sperm. For women with regular menstrual cycles, one of the easiest ways to monitor ovulation is by tracking your period.
If you have a period once a month, youre ovulating once a month, Klein said. And the time of ovulation is usually in the middle of that cycle, approximately two weeks after the working day of your last period.
The median menstrual cycle is between 25 and 35 days, Klein said, but if you have longer intervals between periodssay, every two monthsthat means youre merely ovulating once every two months, too. If thats the instance for you, an at-home ovulation test can help you pinpoint exactly when ovulation passes.
These tests typically have strips that they are able detect hormonal changes in the urine one to two days before ovulation, Klein said. They can help you get a pretty dependable handle on the one or two days in your cycle that youre going to be ovulating, which is especially helpful if youre trying to get pregnant.
Other than monitoring your period or taking a test, can specific symptoms alert you to ovulation?
Some women know their bodies very well and come to recognize symptoms like abdominal ache, cramps, and breast tenderness around the time that theyre ovulating, Klein said.
However, because those symptoms can so often be indicators of something else, he cautions against relying on them entirely.
RELATED : 15 Factors That Affect a Womans Fertility The question: What is gluten ?
Gluten is a protein may be in wheat, barley, rye. Interest in gluten-free diets continued to climb in 2015, as more and more people opted for gluten-free alternatives. If you have celiac illnes or a gluten sensitivity, cutting gluten out of your diet is critical, since it can injury your intestines and trigger other health issues. But experts agree that eliminating gluten isnt necessary for most people.
A diet without gluten can be very healthy, or it can be junk food, said Dee Sandquist, RD, a Fairfield, Ohio-based nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And in fact, there are plenty of reasons to keep eating whole grains, which are a great source of fiber and going to be able to assistance digestion, control weight, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
The question: How long does the influenza last ?
When youre suffering from the seasonal flu, the only thing you can think about is getting betterand quickly. So when can you hope to see relief from symptoms like fever, coughing, sore throat, and fatigue?
This varies to some extent with the stres per year, and plainly goes on longer if complications develop, Katz said. But the typical course of the flu is seven to ten days. While youre waiting for the virus to pass, prevent it from getting worse by drinking plenty of fluids, cleaning hands frequently, and eating vitamin D-fortified foods like orange juice and yogurt.
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